The Impact of an Avatar


Social media is a fantastic way to stand up for what you believe in. I do this everyday through my Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts, as well as this blog. You show support for the things that mean something to you.

It’s refreshing to see this happening in regards to #foodthanks on both Twitter and Facebook. Not sure what I’m talking about?  You can see my blog post about it here or go straight to the source, FoodThanks.com. More and more, #foodthanks has gained traction as a social media campaign that people from all walks of life can agree with. People are tweeting about all the reasons why they’re thankful for the food they have and the people who raise, process, and prepare it. The thing that stands out most for me, however, is the unique and bold ways in which people are including #foodthanks graphics in their Twitter avatars.

Why does this stand out to me? Well, there’s a lot of noise on Twitter. According to research from integrated marketing firm Sysomos, the everyday Twitter user follows somewhere in the ballpark of 100 people. Not every 100 of those people really “matter” to the person following them; to say otherwise would be a lie. Yet, glancing through a stream, an avatar can serve as a snapshot of what your account stands for. It’s a glimpse at what you might possibly be tweeting about.

The sheer mass of people using #foodthanks graphics in their Twitter avatars means that the reach of this campaign is huge. As of 2:28 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23 (the day before the official #foodthanks campaign), over 135 people have #foodthanks-related avatars. Whether it’s through a Twibbon, through using the graphics supplied on the official #foodthanks website, or by building customized #foodthanks graphics, that’s a lot of avatars around a unified cause put together last-minute.

So, figure the numbers on that. There are people in the AgChat community with as many as 11,000 followers. Even if the tweets get overlooked initially, there’s that avatar, looking back at them. More than once I’ve clicked on an avatar in curiosity, wondering what it was about. Many of those little journeys led me down paths I didn’t expect, but am glad to have experienced. In many ways, my involvement with the AgChat Foundation is the result of some accidental avatar-following.

So, as the numbers of #foodthanks avatars climb and we approach the big day, consider the impact of an avatar. Does it portray the message you want it to? Does it stand for something you believe in? Mine shows my #foodthanks, and I’m proud of that.

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